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Ben Franklin's bifocals August 13, 2006

Playing Blackjack

Black Jack Pershing story

A friend of mine sent me the above clipping. The recent Israeli-Arab crisis in the Mideast offered us a golden opportunity for a 21st century reprise of Black Jack Pershing's anti-terrorist demonstration in the Philippines. Before you recoil in horror, gentle reader, please take note that there is no such thing as a just war; there is just war. A state of war exists when all the just remedies have failed. No group or nation, whichever god or gods they pray to, is justified in making war on another. The only reason for a good man or a good nation to go to war is in defense of family, hearth, and home.

Once a state of war exists between any two entities it must be considered a matter of survival, and all means available should be exerted to stop it. There is nothing more humane or less humane about the means that are employed in war. All of them are designed to produce death and injury. While the nations of the world have frequently engaged in the futile attempt to distinguish the civilized methods of killing their fellow beings from the uncivilized ones, these are clearly arbitrary distinctions without a moral difference.

Back to the Middle East. The UN resolution for a cease-fire in the conflict between Israel, Hezbollah, and Lebanon is now in place. This kind of solution has been tried before in a number of settings, with mixed results. A large United Nations force positioned on the ground between the warring parties indeed does lead to a temporary cessation of hostilities. That resolution will hold until the extremists, who are committed to the destruction of Israel, find a new spot from which to launch long-range rockets and missiles over or around the peacekeeping forces.

What if, instead of a committing tens of thousands of foreign forces to the occupation of yet another Islamic country, the United States had simply stepped in and issued the following statement of intent:

Since the attack and kidnapping that provoked the current war was launched from Lebanon, an area from the border between Israel and Lebanon and extending north for a distance of 40 kilometers is hereby declared a no man's land. All sides shall have 48 hours to withdraw all civilian and military personnel from that area. At the conclusion of this 48-hour period the United States will launch a series of nuclear weapons. The weapons will be targeted so as to overlap and produce a region of intense radioactivity in the no man's land, rendering it fatal to human life for the foreseeable future.

Do you imagine that Syria and Iran might get the hint? General Pershing seems to have had no trouble communicating to the Muslim extremists of his time that any future terrorist activities would be dealt with in a manner similar to his treatment of the initial 50 captives.

General John Pershing

William's Whimsical Words:

Notice that this tactical use of the US nuclear arsenal would also serve to reduce the total number of dangerous nuclear weapons in the world, and may even give US diplomats a little more leverage in dealing with the likes of North Korea, Iran, and other wannabes.

GENTLE READER: From time to time, William puts on a different hat so as to look at a current crisis or problem from an unfamiliar perspective. As one trained in the art of advocacy, this is not a difficult feat for him. It is in that respect that the above solution to the Mideast crisis was derived by looking at it through a Neocon lens. That lens produces sharp black-and-white images that facilitate decision-making. This clarity comes at the expense of the other colors of the rainbow, which may or may not be an acceptable price to pay.

The strategy set forth above is not a new one. When the Romans defeated the Carthaginians it is said that they plowed salt into the fields around Carthage to ensure that a new city and civilization would not arise there to trouble them in the future. Due to technological advances, radioactive byproducts can now be used in lieu of salt to deny the future use of real estate for human purposes, and for a longer period of time (limited only by half-life).

It has been some three score years since the United States of America last demonstrated to the World its willingness and capacity to incinerate hundreds of thousands of civilians with both nuclear and nonnuclear weapons. The vast majority of terrorists now living have no first hand memory of those events, and clearly no longer take my country seriously. Perhaps a not so gentle reminder is all that is needed.

warning_md_clr  All writing and text on this website not otherwise identified as to source is that of Will Henry. The opinions expressed in this piece are not necessarily my own, but they surely do not represent the views of anyone else; or do they?

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